East Coast strike delays some waste pickup in Orange County

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Waste pickup was delayed in parts of California this week because of a strike on the East Coast.

Jay Garbutt has lived in Anaheim Hills for the last 25 years.

Garbutt's recycling and natural waste cans were still sitting on his curb Friday afternoon past their scheduled pickup time. He was happy to see his trash was empty.

"Luckily, at least that's gone and I'm sure when they decide, they'll be here tomorrow if they can't make it today and that's fine with me," Garbutt said.

The disruption in service was because of truck drivers from Marshfield, MA on strike. They're employed with Republic Services. The solid waste and recycling company provides services across the nation including here in California. Republic is in contract negotiations with the Marshfield union.

Teamster Bernard Egan-Mullen was picketing outside the company's Anaheim location Friday.

"We went looking for better healthcare, better retirement plan and they're just not willing to sit down at the table and negotiate," Egan-Mullen said.

The teamsters Local 25 strike began on Aug. 29. On the second week of the strike, these teamsters extended their picket lines to Orange County. They were in Huntington Beach Tuesday and in Anaheim on Friday asking union members for support.

"As they came in, we were explaining to them what was going on. They were more than willing to help and they turned around and went home," Egan-Mullen said. "I know there's probably 240 trucks sitting in the back of their yard that didn't leave today, so I can only imagine the amount of homes and businesses that didn't get serviced today," he said.

Egan-Mullen said about 15 drivers crossed the picket line Friday.

A Republic Services spokesperson emailed the following statement to Eyewitness News.

"Republic Services is in contract negotiations with a union representing some of our employees in Massachusetts. Those employees are engaged in a temporary work stoppage, which was joined today by some employees at our Anaheim location. Because of this, our customers may experience delays in collection service, but we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. While Republic respects the rights of our employees to engage in collective bargaining, we will not allow union pressure tactics to influence professional and respectful bargaining at the table. We will continue to work toward a fair and competitive contract for our Massachusetts employees."

"We're going to do what we have to do until they come down and negotiate with us," Egan-Mullen said.

Garbutt said he's been through his fair share of waste collection service strikes in New York, "and it was just awful you know, garbage piled all over the place."

"I'm on their side and I think unions are important and I hope that they get what they're after," Garbutt said.

A city of Anaheim spokesperson said most of the disruption was happening on the east side, but the drivers who crossed the picket line were prioritizing trash. Anyone who comes home to full cans was asked to leave them out Saturday. If the waste was still not collected, residents were advised to try again the following week and bag excess waste for collection.
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